Ed: Second in the series, see Dwight for earlier one. My reviews of Bravo’s Startup Silicon Valley
What I learned from Bravo’s Startup Silicon Valley about Women in the Valley
I could write a detailed diatribe/analysis of the reality series in contrast to my life as a woman engineer in the city I’ve lived in for 30+ years. But, instead, I’ll just tell you what it would tell me if I knew nothing about it. Therefore, not coming from the informed reality that is my life, but what Randi Zuckerberg’s – sister of Mark and executive producer- her reality and/or version of her experience in my hometown, the friends she cast, and the overall effect the producers, including but perhaps not her directly her input, that influenced the image of the woman in engineering-entrepreneurial SF tech to the rest of America. I do a bit of end-notes stating where/what I get this from after each statement. And, you know, you be the judge.
Women in Silicon Valley get their hair done for hours by professionals at fancy hotels, feeding their dog steak from room service (Sarah). Women in Silicon Valley aren’t actually programmers – I never saw a woman sitting at a computer coding (Kim was working at a computer, but mostly talking to her coworker). They always talk on speakerphone (some requirement for reality show people, I assume), and do their nails at salons. Sometimes, they make inappropriate sexual jokes (Hermione), and do gymnastics in living rooms (Kim). They live in apartments that are in the higher end of the rental market (Kim, Hermione). They don’t work, or, you never see them work (Hermione, Sarah).
This combination of not seeing them work and having high rent lifestyles equates to this magical source of income and/or “what are they doing?” tension while you’re watching the show. They are very comfortable speaking in public. They wear the latest fashions. They are unsuccessful in dating. They are very unaggressive in dating, waiting to be asked out for most of the season by various guys. They are young, straight, and mostly blond.
They have poor backgrounds and/or backgrounds and childhoods in other careers that are not tech-related. Most of their time is spent having complicated interpersonal friendships (Hermione, Sarah), or agonizing over career changes (Kim) or business partners who don’t let them do what they want (Hermione).
In investor meetings, they say “And my brother will discuss the tech” (Hermione) (even though he then hires an engineer to “do the tech”). In interviews, they ask pointed questions about how much money people are going to get (Sarah). They say a lot of generalizations about what it’s like to be “in the valley” (Kim, Hermione). They don’t drive cars (Hermione, Sarah). They are driven around in more expensive cars by men. They have very emotional tantrums in public (Hermione, Sarah).
Basically, a kind of primped up bag of feelings, in a lifestyle paid by men. And how is this different than Basketball Wives (A show I adore, btw.)?
Maybe my next post will be: my view of women in the valley. Hmmm.